chilling on the porch

Packing Up My Childhood Home

and who will be doing mine….

chilling on the porch

me on the porch of my childhood home

My friends are always a veritable source of blog ideas and chatting with them yesterday about this subject brought back memories of when I packed up my childhood home. Several of my friends have had to do this already and another one is dreading the time that will inevitably be in her future.

Packing up the home you grew up in is not an easy thing to do…ever. Even under the best of circumstances. And I really don’t know that there are any good circumstances….maybe if you are helping your parents downsize to a smaller place and they are both still alive. But even that would have to hold some sad moments for the ones who are never going to see the inside of of that house again. However most of the time that isn’t the case and the children are left to pack up the home and all that belonged to their family.

My daughter and I worked alone for months on my parents house. This was definitely one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in more ways than one. My father had already passed and Mom was in a nursing home with Dementia and was never going to return to the house I grew up in and that she loved so dearly. Mom hadn’t been well for awhile and left things go and the house was in bad shape..it was almost like an edition of “Horders.” When we walked in and looked around we almost turned right around and walked back out….we didn’t know where to start.

The whole situation was unbelievably hard emotionally and physically and also because we were doing it by ourselves… we were just overwhelmed. We finally decided to sell the place “as is” and found a local buyer who did “flips.” That decision saved us from having to get everything out and clean what would be a feat not even Mr. Clean could or would tackle. But, we still wanted to go through as much as we could to make sure there weren’t any “gems” left in the house before we turned it over to the buyer.

Going through my parents things gave me a whole new view on who they were and what they had been before I came along. We found letters from camp written to old boyfriends from Mom and letters from Dad written to Mom while he was serving in the Navy. It brought up so many questions and I really wished I could ask them about some of them. But sadly that was not meant to be…with my Dad gone and Mom having Dementia that was impossible. Not to mention all of my parents siblings had passed as well so there was no one left to ask about the things that were left behind or the people my parents once were.

The letters and items from Mom’s childhood gave me a whole other view as to who this woman was. You never think of your parents as even having a childhood and being young and carefree with hopes and dreams just like us. I wanted to know this person, I wish I could have been friends with her. I think I would have had a lot in common with the young child and person she was before she became my “Mom.”

We found paintings Mom had done upstairs in the storage area. I knew Mom had this talent as I had seen some of her paintings early on in my childhood. But I forgot how good she was at it and would have loved to ask her why she stopped. Why didn’t she continue to paint and what would make her give up this talent? Did she do it for my sister and I? Did she think she wasn’t good enough? I will never know the answers to these questions.

Mom loved to shop and that was never more evident to us as we went through the closets full of clothing, shoes and handbags. This whole shopping addiction has been passed on to me and my daughters. So you see it is not our fault we shop! Going through the stacks and stacks of clothes with tags still on them made me decide I wasn’t going to do this anymore. And I have tried to be better about what I want and what I really need. If I buy one thing I must give up two items. I give away a lot of things to my friends and family too. I would rather give it to them than make a few bucks on it or give it to Goodwill. So I have learned something from this experience.

While going through one of the closets I found something else that totally blew my mind. Something so horrible and vile that it is forever etched in my mind…As I lifted a pile of pants something hard touched my hand. I lifted the item out from between the clothes so I could see what it was. OMG!! It can’t be…it is…it was… a “dildo.” I screamed and dropped the offending thing on the floor. Yes, you read this right… My Mother had a dildo in her closet. Believe me, this is not something I thought my own mother would even remotely know about, let alone me finding one in her closet. I ran in the bathroom and scoured my hands with antibacterial soap for much longer than needed and tried to regain my sanity. My daughter was screaming too so when we finally both calmed down, we got a trash bag and threw the heinous thing inside and sealed the bag tightly so it couldn’t escape and do more damage than it had already done.

This whole “dildo” episode made me think…what will those left behind to pack up my house find….I did call my friend and made her promise to go through things first so nothing would scare my children or whoever is left to do this. I got rid of the most offending items I could think of…however, there may still be a few things I need to lock up in a box and then maybe even swallow the key….

As you can see there are many ways to look at doing this life changing thing of cleaning out your childhood home. There will be a lot of good memories to be found and also some sad ones. But then you might find something that will make you laugh. Almost as though it was left there for just that reason. I know I sure have a good laugh whenever I remember Mom’s “dildo.”

Home Sweet Home

My childhood home

Have you gone through this? Have you packed up your childhood home? What did you find?

“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes